TUCoPS :: Scams :: swap.txt

Swap Your Home and Travel Free!

                      Swap Your Home and Travel Free
               You want to spend a few months or more somewhere
          exotic, beautiful, and culturally different, but you
          don't think you can handle the cost.  What if you could
          arrange it free?
               The answer is a home exchange.  Exchange your home
          for a comparable residence in a foreign country.  It's
          free, except for the minimal cost of finding someone
          who wants to trade. 
               William G. Thomas and his wife exchanged their
          home in California for a 500-year-old rectory in
          English farm country, a small, austere, Gothic church
          situated on a knolled horizon.  It stood alongside a
          moss-covered cemetery and was surrounded by ancient,
          thick-trunked trees and ringed by six handsome and
          rustic English houses. 
               This tiny English
miles north
          of London has a population of 17.  The residents are
          hard-working farmers and the families of three business
          executives who chose country life over the rigors of
          urban living.  One of these executives, John Morris,
          and his wife Mary decided they wanted to venture for a
          while beyond their English village.  They wanted to see
          the United States. 
               So the two couples arranged a home exchange.  The
          three-week swap was total.  The Thomas' and the Morris'
          exchanged homes, pets, and cars. 
               William and his wife had visited London on several
          occasions before investigating the idea of a home
          exchange.  They wanted to return to the London area,
          but not simply as tourists running hurriedly from site
          to site.  So they wrote to English friends, applied for
          home-exchange brochures, and reviewed ads in the Lo
               Their inquiries yielded several alternatives: a
          house at Wimbledon; an apartment near Kensington
          Gardens; and a bedroom in the home of a friend in
          Whitchurch, Hants.  Then the letter came asking if they
          would be interested in a home exchange with a family
          living in an old rectory near the ancient town of
          Hitchin.  They jumped at the chance. 
               The swap was arranged over the telephone.  The
          couples discussed departure times, instructions on how
          to operate household appliances, trash collection, and
          what to feed each other's pets.  It took several months
          to make all of the arrangements.
          How to arrange a swap
               You can begin your search for a home exchange
          partner by asking around or by placing an advertisement
          in an international publication, such as the
e, 850 Third Ave., 10th
          Floor, New York, NY 10022; (212) 752-3890. 
               The alternative is to contact a home exchange
          organization.  These companies publish directories
          several times a year listing people interested in
          trading homes, when they want to travel, and where they
          would like to go. 
               Agencies to contact include Better Homes & Travel,
          185 Park Row, P.O. Box 268, Suite 14D, New York, NY
          10038; (212) 349-5340.  This is the only home exchange
          organization that screens participants and negotiates
          arrangements for you.  The registration fee for first-
          time participants is $50.  The closing fee ranges from
          $150 to $600.
               Also try Loan-A-Home, 2 Park Lane, 6E, Mt. Vernon,
          NY 10552; (914) 664-7640.  This group deals primarily
          with members of the international academic and business
our home in Loan-A-Home's
          directory free.
               Intervac, P.O. Box 3975, San Francisco, CA 94119;
          (415) 435-3497, is part of an international network of
          22 home exchange companies representing 30 countries. 
          For $35, you can list your home and receive a copy of
          the club's directory.
               Vacation Exchange Club, in Honolulu, Hawaii,(800)
          638-3841, is affiliated with 22 other exchange
          companies and represents 42 countries.  For $24.70, you
          can list your home and receive a copy of the directory.
               The more people you contact, the more likely you
          are to find a successful match.  Send out as many as 50
          letters, telling prospects about your home, your
          community, and the local attractions.  Give references. 
          And be flexible.  It can take as long as a year to
          arrange a successful exchange. 
               Once you hav
, clearly define all
          terms.  It is best to do this in writing.  Details to
          clarify include:
               * Gas and electric bills.  You can trade bills or
          settle up later. 
               * Telephone bills.  It is best to exchange bills,
          so that everyone pays for his own calls. 
               * Cars.  If you exchange use of vehicles, make
          sure insurance, licenses, and permits are in order. 
               * Dates.  Make sure of the exact dates of arrival
          and departure. 
               Most home exchange companies do not screen
          participants.  That's up to you.  Ask potential
          partners for references and photographs of their homes.
               * Potential damages.  Who is responsible for
          paying for repairs? 
               * Yard work.  Do you expect your guests to mow the
          grass or weed your rose beds? 
               Contact your home insurance agent and
     will have visitors living in your home.  For your own
          peace of mind, put away valuables and fragile
               If you don't plan to meet your guests when they
          arrive in the United States, have a friend or family
          member meet them and give them the keys.  Ask your
          neighbors to welcome your guests, perhaps inviting them
          over for dinner or drinks. 
               Leave a note explaining where essentials can be
          found, a schedule for trash collection, and a list of
          important telephone numbers (police, fire, and
          For more information...
               For more details on home exchange how- to's, read
          Your Place and Mine by Cindy Gum.  It is available from
          Gum Publications, 15195 El Camino Grande, Suite 100,
          Saratoga, CA 95070.  The cost is US$5.95.
          Let your tenant pay for
               If you're unable to arrange the home exchange of
          your dreams, take a new tack.  Put your house up for
          rent for the week (or weeks) that you want to travel. 
          If you're able to get US$700 or US$800 a week for your
          home in rent, you surely can afford to spend two weeks
          sunning yourself in Montserrat. 
               It's not as foolhardy as it may sound.  Ask for
          references -- and check them carefully -- before you
          accept a tenant.  Also request a security deposit,
          which you can keep in case there are any damages. 
               Some home exchange organizations will also list
          houses or apartments for rent (refer to the list given
          above).  Another good contact is Hideaways
          International, 15 Goldsmith St., P.O. Box 1270,
          Littleton, MA 01460, which lists rentals in its annual
               When writing the ad for you
ke a
          salesman.  List all the features and comforts of your
          home, as well as all the nearby attractions.

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